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Equatorial Guinea Calls for Help after Munitions Blasts

A series of explosions attributed to mishandled explosives at a military base rocked a city in the central African nation of Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 500, the authorities said. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said that fires on farms neighboring military barracks in the city of Bata had detonated dynamite and other munitions being stored there. He blamed “negligence and carelessness” of the unit in charge of the explosives for the disaster. The country’s ministry of health and social welfare declared a health emergency and said many were still missing under the rubble. Video from the city captured scenes of people digging for victims, as thick smoke wafted over the debris-strewn landscape. Others fled through the streets, some with suitcases and children in hand underneath a darkened sky. Mr. Obiang appealed to the international community to help, pointing out that the country was already suffering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fall in oil prices. Equatorial Guinea is one of the biggest producers of oil in the African continent.